Rachel Letham, Associate Trainer at We Are Wellbeing, discusses why self care is so important as we move into the autumnal months. Rachel also offers some self care tips to help keep yourself motivated and on track.
September and the start of Autumn, for me, evokes all sorts of memories… a shiny fresh new pencil case, new school shoes (that were always a size too big!) and a new timetable to memorise. Now, as an adult, I still get that feeling of a fresh start. Autumn is as good a time for renewal of a routine as the New Year or Spring. The kids are back at school, holidays are fading into memories and our schedules are getting busier. Colder weather and shorter days lead to a natural feeling of wanting to comfort ourselves. So take advantage of this, I’m sharing a few simple self care tips to help you settle down to some self care time to nourish your body, mind and soul.
Whilst Autumn and Winter may not seem to be that productive in nature, it is in fact a time when trees send their roots deeper into the soil, regenerating for the Spring to come. Now is the time to do the same for yourself, store your energy, replenish your soul, enjoy time for yourself so that when you are ready to embrace life on a more energetic pathway, you can.
Book in some time with yourself to embrace the change in seasons, find self care practices that fit in with your climate, your mood, your budget and your desires. I encourage you to take a leaf out of nature’s book. Start battening down the hatches, recharging and nurturing so that come the turn into Spring you can burst into new life, new energy and a fresh approach with renewed energy.
Self Care Tips:
Take a walk amongst the new season
Nature is moving all the time; there is always something to see. According to Dutch scientific journalist Mark Mieras, there is increasing evidence that the stress-reducing effect of nature comes from ‘phytoncides’; a substance that plants and trees secrete to protect themselves from insects. Taking a walk outside can help wake our immune system up (perfect for this time of year) and reduce our stress levels.
Increase the benefits of a walk outdoors this season with my “Outdoor ABC’s” game. This is a great challenge to do on your own or with family to bring you into the present moment and add a touch of mindful awareness to your stroll.
Take some time to explore the outdoors, whether you do this alone or with family or friends. Go on a walk and don’t take your phone, listen to any music or have any distractions. It’s a great way to open up your field of vision and take this moment to step away from technology for a couple of hours and to spend some time really paying attention to the space around you.
So the aim of the game is to work your way through the alphabet. Try to spot something to represent each letter of the alphabet as you work through it. Try not to rush ahead, if you see something for W well ahead of its time you can’t save it up – it’s about seeing what is around you in the moment.
Try to keep away from the obvious – no L for Leaves or T for Trees…. it really is quite a challenging but fun, mindful game. By doing this you are really making a conscious effort to be in the present. To survey your environment around you and open your eyes to things you may pass by on a daily basis but never notice.
Try something new
With that new school term feeling at this time of year, why not embrace the moment and try bringing something new into your life.
It could be a new hobby, an unusual food you’ve always wanted to try, it could be a change to your circle of friends by joining a different group or activity or it could just be a change to your route to work. Doing this can be a great way to renew your energy and bring something new into your life to boost your self care.
However, you have to be willing to embrace this change and step out of your comfort zone. By doing this and stepping into your ‘learning zone’ and then ultimately the ‘growth zone’ you will feel empowered, you will feel that you are conquering new things, acquiring new skills, making new connections – all of which are important in our hierarchy of needs.
We often settle for the same old routine; however, having the courage to step into something new can bring so many rewards and really lift up our energy levels.
Make time for ‘me’
Once we start heading to those shorter, darker days we often don’t want to do much that involves stepping out of the house. Rather than resist this shift in season why not embrace it by staying indoors and being in charge of your time. Do what makes you happy; whether it’s watching a movie snuggled on the sofa, playing board games or reading your favourite book all afternoon. With the weather against us at this latter part of the year, take this as permission to stay at home and stay cosy and embrace time for “me”.
Try to book at least one day or half day if that feels too much for yourself in each month. Put this in your diary or schedule as “ME TIME” and be proud of it. This is about putting yourself first to boost your self care and enhance how you can be of service to others. By planning it in your diary, you are committing to yourself and are also closing that time off to doing anything else
The ME TIME is your time, do what you want to do. Have a lie in, read a book, go for a walk, do what you like – just no time commitments to anyone without that feeling of guilt, ENJOY!